On Gratitude ~
Have you ever noticed what real gratitude can do? The difference it makes in your life?
As we learn to trust, we simultaneously learn about the essence of being grateful. These states of being, these frequencies, go hand in hand.
One of the practices that SHE expresses through me is that of “Thank you that this is so.” Thanking the Infinite for what you have expressed as yearning or desire or preference, even when the proof and evidence is elusive or not showing up in the physical world. Not yet. Perhaps not yet. It is never a test. It is always a gift. The gift of HER unconditional love, and divine timing.
When I first learned to practice gratitude it was from the chipmunks that lived around our house in the woods. I would occasionally leave bits of nuts and things out for them to see what they would do. I began by leaving my offerings out by the side porch, where they loved to hop up on the wall next to the door, climb up the wooden pole that rose from its center, and scamper across the sloping roof of the entryway. Their scratchings and scramblings made us laugh as they strewed the walk with acorn tops and other messy bits. Best to leave offerings where what you want to make friends with is present, I thought, surreptitiously dropping a few ripe acorns just where they might find them.
And so, early mornings, when no one else was about, I would be treated to the chirping of chipmunks, cheeks stuffed full, noisily promulgating to the local tribe. I loved to sneak downstairs and peer out from behind the curtains, catching many a glimpse of the fat, happy, stripey ones chirping and chattering away. Their whole bodies swelled and collapsed when they made those amazingly loud chirping noises. A lot of sound for a being that small in stature.
After awhile I began to leave stray acorns, beech, and walnuts on the corner of my balcony where the slatted wooden floor met the corner post and railings. It was my favorite seat. The best place for chats with my best friends, the silver beeches that stretched strong and mighty from the crest of the hill behind the house. It was they, my friends the trees, who suggested leaving gifts for the little ones. I don’t recall their words, as they typically communicated through blocks of information, but the gist of it was “If you want to make friends with something, give it a gift. Something small, at first, nothing too threatening. Just enough to provoke curiosity and gratitude.“
The chipmunks seemed to prefer it when I left tidbits up high, then they could sit and munch, strewing the leavings across my favorite corner of my favorite spot. It was a giggle we could share, as I rarely saw them come and go. Probably in the night or whilst I was away at school. Time spent away from the woods always seemed like time wasted. In nature, I was free to be.
I was grateful for the friendship of trees. Grateful for the woods that rambled on behind the house and the creek at the bottom of the hill. Shale-bottomed, Slow and shallow, crayfish-filled in summer, frozen in winter, a miracle of currents-under-ice. The woods and creek consumed my imagination and my days. When first we met, I marveled at the depth of the creek banks, wondering at the gnarled and twisted roots that formed a perfect hideaway on the other side. The tree whose roots they were, stood tall yet leaned over the water as if to bless its presence. How had this come to be?
In spring I had my answer. Swollen to the height of its banks, my water playground had become a mighty river, deep and ferocious, threatening to carry away anything that dared its currents. And yet, I was grateful for the roar and thunder of melt and thaw. What new treasures would I find, when the rush receded? What new adventures when my hideaway re-surfaced? New stones and branches, surely. Sometimes a mess to be cleared away. A thicker carpet of moss that clung so fiercely to the submerged roots and branches made a more comfortable seat for me!
My small stripey friends, safe in their hillside dens, waited for the melt to pass as I did. I watched them scurry to the edge of the cliff, taking stock, and scurrying away. Not yet. Not safe today, Plenty of new sprouts and things hidden away.
Why these simple memories now? Now, when they are most important. When life re-sets itself, an understanding of gratitude brings peace among the chaos. Peace among the raging currents that sweep away the old and initiate what will be.
I am grateful for the deep and heaving currents of starlight as they re-create reality. I appreciate the quiet among HER waves, the joy in the immersion of Stillness as newness comes knocking, softly, loudly, in whatever way we will open to receive.
I smile at the lessons learned from chipmunks. Chirp loudly at the finding of treasure. Share your bounty. Always leave a bit behind for those who might come after. Scurry when things feel uncertain. Share your heart whenever you can.
It is time to remember our grateful hearts. Gratitude for what lights us up. Gratitude for the starlight that fills our veins. Gratitude for HER love that will always find its way.
This is a water year. Watch the waters. Listen to their wisdom. They will show you what you need to know and how to play.